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Tobacco sales season kicks off in Zimbabwe with impressive harvest

A tobacco farmer stands besides her bales of the crop during the official opening of the tobacco selling season in Harare on April 7, 2021.   -  
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Tobacco farmers in Harare mark the start of tobacco sales season in a market hall despite strict health restrictions.

Tobacco production in Zimbabwe is expected to grow by nearly 9% this year, the Tobacco regulatory authority said Wednesday.

"Our tobacco harvest was very good this season and we expect good profit this year and I can see good prices as well. The highest I saw was US$4.30 and the lowest was US$2 because it was a bit wet", tobacco farmer, Steady Zvavamw said.

In 2021, production is expected to reach 200 million kilograms thanks to abundant rainfall, the country's Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board estimated. Last year, production was at 184 million.

"So far I have got two hectares, I have grown this year, two hectares. We are happy, we are happy for this season was good, the rains were there. We are very much happy, so we are expecting better prices", tobacco farmer, Remember Kapikinyi said.

As one of the biggest employers in the country, the tobacco industry is hard hit by unemployment, despite its agricultural and mining resources.

Patrick Devenish is chairman of the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board.

"The crop last year was 135 million kilos. The estimates are still being calculated, but I think it will be bigger than that (this year), and because of the improved quality, I think the prices are gonna be little bit higher",  Devenish said.

Tobacco is a major source of foreign exchange for this southern African nation with sales reaching $782 million in 2020.

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